Mexico 2019 | Day 5 Blog

By: Stephen Wilkins

This morning started early with Ian, we got up at 5 to be ready for the bus to pick up the kids for daycare. It was amazing to see, despite what we would consider dire conditions, smiling faces and upbeat spirits. The kids piled into the van one by one as we drove through suburbs littered amongst the fields and farms. One of the kids, was about 18 months, sat on my lap so I could hold him while we drove around to pick up the remaining kids. Despite his clean appearance he decided to be dirty a different way, I don’t miss those days.

After breakfast we were on our way to the jobsite when we discovered a parade for the Mexican Revolution. We stopped for a bit and took some photos then proceeded to work. The parade went on for half the day causing some issues getting around. But we made it to the fish tacos.

On the job site we worked on completing the forms for the concrete beams and getting the heavy rebar in place, Andrew, had the daunting task of troubleshooting an existing plumbing line while I completed the new cistern, turns out we will be building another and replacing some lines that have become an issue for them.

After working a long day, Brendan, Corrine and I made dinner for everyone. Deboned chicken isn’t readily available so I had to debone some chicken legs, which was fun, and then Brendan and Corrine started on the veggies and salad. The dinner came together quite well and there were no leftovers. After dishes were done we proceeded to the fire pit and played 2 truths and a lie. It is an interesting way to find out new things about someone.

Mexico 2019 | Day 4 Blog

By: Corrine Tilstra

Today started out with the rice breakfast pudding, then off to the seniors home while the construction crew worked on the site. I kept busy with meal prep, some painting and sorting beans. It seems as if there’s always laundry, laundry and more laundry to be done at the home, in addition to doing some of our teams laundry.

I road along to the dump with Brendan to see for myself if people actually live there- and yes they do! Digging through the garbage for something of use. Very unpleasant smell, as it’s always burning.

Luckily, I didn’t see any children but that doesn’t mean they don’t live there

By: Heather Leong

I woke up this morning with a bit soreness from our first day working at the seniors home. A hot shower and some yoga back bends later, I went down to get some coffee from the eating area at Casa Hogan Bienvenidos. I’m greeted by everyone I pass with a “beunos dias.”

At home I would be leaving for work at the office. Here, the bus has just arrived from picking up the thirty plus children who spend their day here in school while their parents are away at work. The children file past our group on their way to breakfast. They all hold hands and high five us as the pass.

After breakfast we head off to the job site. I’m helping to cut forms for steel beams. The job site is split up into splinter cells with each group managing a different task. Our goal is to get as much done as humanly possible in the five days we are here.

The seniors home has a need for a wheelchair/bed accessible shower. When we arrived the room had four walls, with no roof, and a dirt floor with lines marking where the plumbing will go.

The team working on plumbing dug out the holes and layed the pipes for the cistern the first day. Today they built the cistern. What amazes me is how quickly everything is getting done. The team is working endlessly from sun up to sun down to get the job done. It has only been two days but it feels like it has been a week.

The end of the day saw the guys rushing to beat the sunset to get the forms in place for the next day. Like the children linked in the morning. Our work day ended with the guys linked on the form.

Mexico 2019 | Day 3 Blog

 We have opportunities to serve both at Welcome Home daycare where we are sleeping, as well as The Good Samaritan Seniors Care Home where our construction work is planned.

By: Lanson | Lanstone Homes & Patrick | Armstrong BC.

Corinne and Heather left at 5:50 am with the daycare bus to pick up 40 children from some poverty stricken neighborhoods.

After breakfast with the kids and doing dishes we arrived at the seniors’ care facility to continue the expansion of new shower and sleeping rooms.

The first work day was a productive day for all involved. In addition to the construction, Corinne performed 20 haircuts on the residents. This is the first time she has cut hair on a 100 year old woman.

Today involved leveling the ground for the new plumbing and slab work. We formed pillars for the upper suspended slab and tied steel, jackhammered concrete and John and Roland fixed 5 leaky skylights. Roland hit John’s thumb with a hammer cause he was tired of being directed around.

After a great but long day, the team enjoyed another authentic Mexican meal at one of Steve Neufeld’s (our guide from EFCCM) favorite eateries. All will sleep sound tonight for another productive and fun team day tomorrow.

Mexico 2019 | Day 2 Blog

Our Centra family representing in Mexico, fresh off their 16 hour journey. Time for the work to begin!

Day 2 Blog

By: Brendan Friesen & Stephen Wilkins

Sunday was our day to take in our surroundings and plan out our work for the week. We have opportunities to serve both at Welcome Home daycare where we are sleeping at as well as The Good Samaritan Seniors Care Home where our construction work is planned.

Before that, we started Sunday by going to the local church for Sunday service and heading into town to explore. The sermon being in Spanish, I snuck out to read stories to the kids halfway through.

After Church we met up with Juan, the local director of the senior center for a tour and to check out what projects we are working on. We’ve split into two teams to tackle concrete forms and plumbing this week. My accounting skills have translated into a ditch digging assignment down here.

Juan felt a strong calling from God to look after the local seniors who had been abandoned, his story is amazing and is deserving of a post all on its own. After starting the centre, he has partnered with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada which is how Centra Cares Foundation got connected and we are here now.

We wrapped up the evening with a quick trip to watch the sunset over the Pacific and out for the best tacos I’ve ever had. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be down here and looking forward to getting to work.

Day 2 in the books, after some games of crib and orientation, we watch the sunset and prepare for work tomorrow, it is important to remember on the task at hand, but also to reflect on our FAMILY pillar.

We will spend a lot of time together over the next 5 days building and working together as a team but more importantly growing our Centra family to include the lives that we help with this project now and in the future.

Mexico 2019 | Day 1 Blog

We have opportunities to serve both at Welcome Home daycare where we are sleeping, as well as The Good Samaritan Seniors Care Home where our construction work is planned.

Day 1 Blog

By: Brendan Friesen

Saturday our goal was travel. Langley to Vincente Guerrero, Mexico in 16 hours. The flights passed quickly for those who were sleeping. Once in San Diego we piled into two Van’s and headed south. A few contrasts stuck out to me along the way.

The contrast between Mexico and the United States is immediate at the border. Regardless of your views on walls or migrant caravans, it was a good reminder that the geopolitical events we read about happen in real places and to real people.

The contrast between an off-road Baja 1000 driver and John T behind the wheel of a 12 passenger van is smaller than I expected. The Baja 1000 race was occurring during our drive down. We saw these overpowered off-road machines in for pit stops all along the highway for hours. John gave it his best shot when the pavement ended by creating his own off road 3rd passing lane between buses on one side and a mountain drop off on the other to make sure all of us were staying awake.

At home we complain about the wealth gap but the contrast in Vincente Guerrero is far more noticeable. A town of around 10,000 people, most work in the Strawberry fields which our produce originates from for about $10 per day.

We are staying in a daycare compound for children of these workers, “Welcome Home Ministries” for the duration of our trip. As I fall asleep on Day 1, I hear music and singing from our local neighbours.

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

A few members of the Centra Cares committee had the honour to visit Canuck Place Children’s Hospice David Lede House in Abbotsford. The warmth, love and passion throughout the facility speaks volumes about the importance of Canuck Place in our community. Centra Cares presented a cheque to members of Canuck Place for $81,804.

The funds will go towards supporting the long term version of providing counselling and nursing services to many families. It was gratifying to listen to many stories and experiences about families throughout B.C. and we are so happy that this type of donation will support various services provided by Canuck Place. Take a look at our latest video where members of Canuck Place illustrate the importance of their partnership with Centra Cares.

2018 Centra Cares Home Renovation

We have our winners for the 2018 Centra Cares Home Renovation Contest! Centra would first like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate a family that they felt was deserving of new windows. We had over 300 nominations submitted, which made the decision process extremely difficult. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to Cardinal IG Glass Industries for donating the glass for these windows. Congratulations to Josh and Melissa and the entire family. Thank you for sharing your story.

What does it take to be on the Board of Centra Cares?

Our Centra Cares BOD is comprised of volunteers who have a passion for giving back. Their time is donated and many hours go into organizing our fundraising efforts and events. We want to take this moment to thank two important outgoing Board members; Emily Parson and Jeff Foster whose contributions have been many during their term with Centra Cares.

Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster

Emily Parson

Emily Parson

Dear Emily and Jeff, Thank you for your commitment of spirit and time!

Emily and Jeff’s impact on our local and global community through Centra Cares cannot be accurately measured or adequately thanked since the work they do is so far-reaching, their time is given freely and they ask nothing in recognition of what they do. Along with the other members of the Board, their time and dedication have allowed Centra Cares to support many local organizations, held successful fundraising efforts such as our Annual Charity Golf Tournament and made two mission trips to Nicaragua.

In 2013 Emily traveled to Nicaragua and in 2015 Jeff made a similar journey in hopes of helping those less fortunate.

Emily climbing a tree

In 2013 Emily was part of a dedicated team of Centra Cares Volunteers who traveled to Diriamba, Nicaragua to help less-fortunate families in need. This team volunteered in the small community of Mojica to help repair their local school, donated playground equipment and built a rancho community center.

Jeff Foster Reviewing Plans

Jeff Foster Reviewing Plans

In 2015 Jeff traveled with a new group of dedicated volunteers to Diriamba, Nicaragua where they donated their time to help build a health clinic in the small community of La Chona.

These charitable missions are an opportunity to make connections, form friendships and gain a new perspective on life. These trips take a commitment of time, money and a mindset of dedication and resiliency in the lives of those that sign on. And while it may seem that we give a lot to these communities, it is our Centra Cares volunteers who take away so much more than they could ever give in these experiences. In order to make a difference, it takes extraordinary team members like Emily and Jeff behind the scenes and on the ground willing to do the work.

Outgoing Board Members Emily and Jeff with re-established 2017 BOD

Outgoing Board Members Emily and Jeff with re-established 2017 Board of Directors. left to right; Rick Heinen, Bonnie Ahara, Emily Parson, Jeff Foster, John Tilstra, Nathan Veenstra, Carey Day (not pictured: Steve Ponte)

Sincerely,  your Centra Cares team.

Highlights from our 22nd Annual Centra Cares Golf Tournament

Our 22nd Annual Centra Cares Golf Classic 2017 was a great success! The donations raised at this year’s tournament will be donated to Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon, Faith and Love Children’s Ministries and a variety of other charities that Centra Cares Foundation supports.

Thank you to everyone who participated and thank you to all of our donors and sponsors! Here are some of the highlight from the tournament.


Centra Cares Has Been Busy This Year!

Centra Cares has been BUSY this year! We have worked hard  to help as many charities as possible and we feel that the results are nothing short of AMAZING! Check out this month’s update on what we have been working on over the past few months:

Red Cross Relief-Fort McMurray


When images of fire burning through Fort McMurray filled our television sets we knew that we needed to help. Centra Cares immediately went to work raising funds to put towards the Red Cross relief efforts.

Centra’s manufacturing team raised a grand total of $376.25 all on their own. In addition, Centra Cares foundation donated an additional $10,000 to aid the Red Cross in managing the disaster relief efforts and fund in conjunction with the Federal & Provincial Governments.

With the commitment of the Federal Government to match donations, our total donation came to: $20,752.50!

Blind Beginnings


Blind Beginnings is a BC based organization that aids in helping youth and parents who are blind or partially sighted to participate in unique opportunities to develop skills, challenge limits and achieve their full potential! Centra Cares couldn’t think of a better organization to contribute to, and as such this past June we donated $1000!

La Semila Ministries


La Semila Ministries is an organization based in Nicaragua working to reach numerous families within the local community by teaching them sustainable living and developing viable agricultural and business plans. They also work to mentor individuals and to introduce them to the Gospel. La Semila and Centra partners together once a year for an annual trip to Nicaragua to aid in their mission – but we also wanted to help them through additional funding. This year we donated $5,000 to aid in the continuing of their ministry!

Hope Haven Guatemala


Hope Haven Guatemala’s mission is to aid those in international countries, to assist them in overcoming their disabilities, and providing them with sustainable means of housing, independent living and social welfare. Centra’s $5,000 donation will assist in continuing their mission of distributing wheelchairs, installing solar lighting systems and building homes.